Review: Fed Up – Bland film about bad food
You may be shocked to learn that the United States federal government misleads you about the contents of the food you are eating, and that they even help subsidize that same harmful food. And you might be alarmed to know that this insanity is allowed to happen because large corporations are lobbying your government representatives to keep it all on the down low. Then again, I doubt that anyone is surprised by this – and yet it continues to happen.
The new documentary film, Fed Up, takes a close-look at the obesity health crisis in the United States, and makes a case that the situation has actually gotten worse since the government instituted its recommended dietary guidelines some thirty years ago. It’s an interesting and educational movie, and I’d even say an important film, but unfortunately it is also as bland as boiled tofu.
Directed by Stephanie Soechtig (who took on the bottled water industry with her film, Tapped, in 2009) and produced and narrated by newswoman, Katie Couric, who has been reporting the ongoing health story for most of her career, Fed Up tells the sordid historical tale of processed foods and their dangers and long term costs to our society.
The film is a mix of interviews with over-weight kids and their families, doctors, scientists and other health professionals, politicians (including former president, Bill Clinton) and journalists. It is also intermingled with historical footage of food and cigarette commercials; showcasing the tobacco industry’s fight to prove smoking was not harmful for your health as a comparison to the current sugar crisis.
There is plenty of “food for thought” (yeah, I know) in this film, but it breaks the cardinal rule of theatrically released documentaries in that it is just not very entertaining. The best films of this genre (see any Errol Morris or Michael Moore movie) contain a least a little humor and entertainment value, but outside of a singular scene that has Homer Simpson mainlining a donut, Fed Up is about as dry a film as you are likely to see.
This movie has very good intentions, but it often comes across as preachy, especially with its extended “call to action” at the end of the film. I’m hesitant to decry it for its efforts, but a bit of cinematic sugar would have made this message a little more palatable. If one really wanted to push the allegory, it could be said that the movie is representative of vegetables that are so hard to eat. Sure they’re good for you, but wouldn’t you rather eat a big bag of popcorn while watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2?
Will Fed Up make you think twice about the foods you put into your body? Probably. Will the film make you angry at your government and elected officials? Definitely. Will it make you change your eating habits? Maybe. Will it lull you into a boredom-induced coma? Unfortunately, it’s highly likely. Grade: 5.5/10
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